Manufacturing buildings differ so from one another in what is required in the way of water supply and waste connections for the industrial purposes to which they will be put that no rules can be laid down which will be applicable to all. The only suggestion of any value is to see that the quality of water is suitable for the purpose. Many industries require a hard water for use in their processes, while the greater number must have soft water, and all factories prefer soft water for boiler feed. The best thing to do when designing a building for industrial purposes is to consult with the superintendent or manager of the plant as to his requirements.
So far as the comfort and convenience of the employees are concerned all factory buildings are very much alike and not any of them require a great amount of plumbing. Of the small amount that is required a supply of drinking water will be found in the front rank, and it will be found a matter of policy to filter all water used at the drinking fountains. Outside of the drinking fountains all that will be required are separate toilet rooms for the men and women and another toilet room for the office help. Ordinarily it will be found that one water closet and one urinal for each twenty male employees, or part of that number, and one water closet for each twenty female employees, or part of that number, is the smallest possible allowance. The closets should be grouped on each floor of tall buildings, or at least on each alternate floor of the building. In low factory buildings, not over two stories in height but spread out over a large area, the toilet accommodations are better scattered throughout the premises at convenient points. A good arrangement is to have the water closets in a separate compartment adjoining the locker room and have the lavatories located in the locker room. The number of lavatories will generally depend upon the generosity of the management, but one lavatory to ten employees is about the average allowance. In factories where the work is particularly dirty, as well as in many other establishments where the management can be made to see the value of cleanliness, shower baths are provided for the employees. These need not be expensive affairs and may be set in one large shower room with sloping cement floor. Such shower buildings are provided at the main shaft of many mines in the anthracite region.
It might seem unnecessary to remark that a retiring room adjoining the women's toilet and wash room, and furnished with sanitary cots, should be provided in all factories employing women. Accidents and sickness are not of infrequent occurrence in such places, and common decency, if not humanity, should dictate that some place besides the floor of the factory be provided for the unfortunates.
Factory buildings, of course, will be well equipped with fire lines and sprinkler systems, but that part of the installation is more in the nature of fire protection and cannot be considered as belonging to the sanitary equipment.